Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

“Who made the chocolate cookies with the hidden cherries?????”

Why, that was me!

Let me rewind. Last Thursday evening I went to a cookie party at my lovely aunt Terrie’s house. Everyone brought three dozen of their cookies of choice. We all set out our cookies and admired everyones’ work. Then we formed a conga line (quite literally due to my aunt Andrea!) and went around the kitchen taking two of each different type of cookie and putting them in our own cookie boxes to take home.

A sweet tooth’s dream.

I have a big italian family, so there were many people at this feast of sugar, so most of the cookies, aside from my sister’s super-creative melting snowman cookies (ummm…cutest cookies EVER…definitely deserved best in show!), went pretty anonymous.

That is why I was ecstatic when I received an e-mail from my auntie on Friday demanding, “Who made the chocolate cookies with the hidden cherries?????”

Me me me me me me me me me me me!!!

They were not the prettiest cookies there. Definitely not. They were just brown blobs. The icing was brown and crackly instead of smooth and beautiful looking. The cookie part itself looked dull and not at all enticing. They probably appeared overdone, although they were not. Somehow though, someone was not afraid to bite into one, and that is when the surprise was revealed…

…a maraschino cherry!

You all know that I am not creative in the kitchen, so I cannot take credit for the recipe…I can only take credit for recreating a much uglier version, but still just as good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained, reserve juice
  • 1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed mil

Preparation:

  • In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda, blending well; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter or margarine and sugar on low speed until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; beat until smooth and well blended. With hands, shape dough into one inch balls; place on ungreased baking sheet. Press down center of dough with thumb. Drain maraschino cherries well, reserving juice. Place cherry in the center indention of each cookie.
  • In small saucepan combine chocolate pieces and sweetened condensed milk; heat over low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir in 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the reserved cherry juice. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the topping over each cherry, spreading to cover cherry. If frosting seems too thick, thin with a little more cherry juice. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, or until done. Remove to wire rack to cool.

I’ll admit it. I forgot to add the salt…but what difference can 1/4 of a teaspoon make, right? And at first my dough was too sticky so I just added an unknown amount of more flour. I was confused at the fact that you put on the frosting before you baked the dough, and I almost didn’t do it…but then I remember what usually happens when I make up my own directions in the kitchen. Maybe all these little facts contribute to the overall less than appealing aesthetic of the little cookies…

…but at least they tasted delicious!

Thank you to all those who braved my cookies and then actually loved them. I do believe I am going to make them again!

ang

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My Best Dinner Ever

Last week I made what most people would think of as a pretty bold statement.

Pretty bold, right? Well, coming from me that’s not really saying much.

Nonetheless, I was pretty darn proud of myself when the husband said, “Honey, you can make this dinner anytime you want!”

I can’t take credit for the idea behind the recipe, because if it weren’t for my allrecipes Dinner Spinner app on my phone I’d be lost. Completely lost. So, via Jackie at allrecipes.com, here is my best dinner ever…

Linguini with Peppers and Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package linguini pasta (I used bow-tie pasta!)
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (Removing the casings was one nasty job, but it had to be done. I also added one large, seasoned chicken breast!)
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped (I used green!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine (I skipped this…I drank all the wine!)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Saute sausages in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until light brown, breaking up clumps with back of spoon. Add peppers, onion, and garlic; saute until tender. Add wine and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 6 minutes.
  • Drain pasta, and add to the skillet. Toss to combine. Add cheese, and toss to blend. Serve.

  • Pour yourself a glass of wine.
  • Enjoy!

ang

Dinner Club

A little over two years ago my best friend came up with the greatest idea.

She’s an organizer and a planner. She always makes sure that there is time penciled in to see each other. We have dates set out months in advance. She always has to remind me to update my planner. Frequently.

She came up with this idea that once a month all of our friends would get together and have dinner together. One couple will host the party and provide the main course. Every other couple will bring an accompanying side dish…and of course, B.Y.O.B.

Hence, dinner club.

I, not being the greatest cook in the world, usually just bring chips and salsa since that is the one thing I’m pretty darn good at making, but for tonight’s dinner club I decided to step out of my box!

Homemade Smashing S’mores, recipe via Jessica, a recipe-maker of all things ridiculously delicious looking! Mine don’t look quite as nice as hers, and when I was finished I had chocolate just about everywhere…even on the kitchen walls…don’t ask me how! I’m hoping they’re a hit tonight!

Back to dinner club…

I think that everyone should be a part of someone’s dinner club. It is a great way to learn new recipes, eat good food, but best of all, it is the best way to stay in touch with all your good friends (and even make new ones!) It is also a time when it is okay to act like a teenager again (at our very first dinner club get-together we ended up going and tee-peeing another friend’s house…true story!)

We have had so many different dinner clubs over the past two years and each one is as exciting as the last. We have had italian themed and mexican themed dinner clubs, we’ve had barbecues, I hosted a pizza bar dinner club, we have had tailgating dinner clubs, and we even brought dinner club to Mexico this summer!

The truth is, it is easy to put your friends on the back burner when you have so much going on in your life. I know that I’m guilty of that a lot. I love my friends, and I know that they love me, but when you have so much going on it can be hard. Dinner club gives us an excuse to forget everything else that is going on and see each other. It gives us something to look forward to every single month. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve counted down the days until a dinner club!

…and now in just nine more hours I’ll be in some good company! 🙂

ang

 

Laugh in my Kitchen

This morning has been spent killing a few birds with one stone.

First of all I have practiced what life might be like when I have a child someday. No, I’m sorry, this “someday” is not going to be any day soon, but when I am a mother, I will be forced to be somewhat domesticated. This means that I might actually have cook for my family and occasionally vacuum the kitchen floor. Yes, I vacuum linoleum.

True story: I cut all my vegetables with a steak knife. In fact, I cut everything with a steak knife.

Oh dear, my  poor future little family.

Secondly, I have started the process of redeeming myself with my mother…and aunts and uncles…

Um, I think you get the picture.

However, don’t let me fool you. I am not being creative and making my own recipe here. That typically ends up as a failure that only the raccoons outside at night would enjoy. My husband now knows that he needs to have a plan B in mind if I ever decide to “get creative” with food, but he knows to talk some sense into me before I hit up the kitchen.

Thirdly, I have had the opportunity to talk to my mom on the phone this morning, which I know she appreciates more than she lets on, even if it was just to ask her how long to boil the chicken. (I have another question about her recipe, but she is not answering her phone!)

Fourth of all, I have learned that even though Tia adores carrots that does not mean she likes celery. And in fact, I have also learned her secret hiding place for the foods that I drop that she does not like…under the kitchen table on the dark rug where I cannot easily see it.

And last but not least, I have created what is going to be a delicious dinner for tonight. My family will be so proud!

I think it’s very fitting that I have decor that says “laugh” in my kitchen.

ang

 

I Adore Jalapenos

When I saw this jalapeno chicken recipe, I knew I had to try it!

I’ve recently become obsessed with jalapenos…and well, cream cheese, too! I guess with my undying love for salsa, especially hot salsa, I was bound to fall in love with jalapenos.

The recipe calls for:

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I cut them smaller and made 10 small pieces.)
  • 1 bottle Italian dressing (I skipped this. Italian dressing = condiment. YIKES! Instead I used onion salt and greek seasoning.)
  • 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded (I used 5 halved jalapenos to accommodate for my 10 pieces of chicken.)
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 6 slices bacon (I used more than 6, and I used turkey bacon.)
  • toothpicks

The recipe states to cut the jalapenos in half and remove the seeds.

I tend to leave a lot of the seeds so my food is a little spicier!

Then stuff each jalapeno half with cream cheese.

Season the chicken breasts with onion salt and greek seasoning. Then roll them around the jalapeno peppers. Wrap each chicken breast with a slice or two of bacon. Secure with toothpicks.


Cook for 20 minutes, turning frequently, or until bacon is browned and the chicken juices run clear.

We cooked them out on the grill, but you can cook them in the oven, as well!

Enjoy!

ang